WASHINGTON - A supermarket chain was one of 18 winners in the recently announced U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 10th annual Green Power Leadership Awards.

Whole Foods Market was honored “for achievements in using green power, helping to grow the nation’s voluntary green power market, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the EPA said in its recognition.

It was the only winner with a heavy emphasis on refrigeration among the 18 honored. Others cited in the Green Power Partners of the Year category were Kohl’s, Motorola, and TD Bank. The other 14 winners were in such categories as Green Power Communities, Green Power Purchasing, and On-Site Generation.

According to the EPA announcement, “Whole Foods Market was the first Fortune 500® company to purchase wind power for 100 percent of its electricity use across its United States operations. In 2010, the company increased its purchase to 815 million kilowatt-hours of wind-based renewable energy certificates (RECs), keeping pace with the company’s continued growth. Whole Foods Market’s green power usage ranks among the largest in the Green Power Partnership, placing the company on EPA’s National Top 50 Purchasers List and Top 20 Retail List.”

The citation went on to note, “While the majority of Whole Foods Market’s green power consists of RECs, green power is produced through solar systems located on a distribution center and 14 retail stores across the nation. The company retains the RECs for four of these installations. The company has also incorporated fuel cell technology at two of its stores, is installing a 100 percent bio-fuel generator at one of its commissaries, and is evaluating on-site wind.”

The EPA said that Whole Food Market “sponsors community giving days where 5 percent of that day’s net sales are donated to a local nonprofit or educational organization, including clean energy groups. A recent day in the North Atlantic region raised over $70,000 for Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP). Representatives from Whole Foods Market and CA-CP were in stores with educational materials tables explaining the need for cleaner energy.”

On a daily basis, Whole Foods Market provides customers the opportunity to calculate their carbon footprints on the Whole Foods Market’s website and the option of purchasing wind REC cards at store checkouts.

EPA co-sponsors the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy and the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions.

Publication date:11/22/2010